As the old adage goes: The only silly question is the one you don’t ask. Why? Because your question is also percolating in someone else’s head, and by voicing it not only are you expressing your concern, but you are encouraging someone else to express theirs.

With this in mind, I wanted to share with you questions I’ve received from my readers on their challenges with Genuine Conversations.  I also encourage you to ask your questions in the comment section below. Your question may be featured in a future Q and A blog!

Besides, the answer to your question may help another reader with their workplace conversation challenge.

Q: How do you begin a Genuine Conversation when that sense of safety is not there?

In my dealings with individual and organizational clients, this question comes up quite a lot, and with good reason.

When a person doesn’t feel safe, there is a tendency to stay quiet, their concern never fully addressed. Which means that approaching a genuine conversation, especially when trust no longer exists, can be viewed as risky…. Yet the concern still remains. First allow me to challenge you with this question:

What is the risk of having the conversation versus the risk of not having the conversation?

Only you know for sure. Many of my clients realize that avoiding key conversations may actually make their work environments worse. Others choose not to have the conversation at all, and end the relationship. There is no right or wrong way, no better or worse.

In my experience, having that conversation not only opens the door to clearing the air, but it helps build your self-confidence muscle needed for future genuine conversations. Your determination to clear the air may be the very thing needed to re-establish trust.

Creating safety often means having a clear intention for the conversation, before it begins. 

A genuine conversation begins before it happens.  Being clear about your reasons for the conversation will help keep it on track, and build your sense of safety.  Some of the questions you may want to ask yourself and answer beforehand include:

  • What is important for me to convey?
  • What do I hope to achieve?

Additional questions that may help you with setting your intention can be found in my blog “3 Crucial Steps to Preparing for a Genuine Conversation”.

By exploring your reasons to have the conversation, it now becomes about your concern rather than trying to change the other person, or change their opinion. Your intention also gives you a tool to gauge if you’ve achieved your goal, whether the other person responds in your favour or not.

In short setting your intention prior to a genuine conversation, tends to increase your composure and enables you to show up for it with more confidence. This calm attitude will likely decrease defensiveness in the other person.

Thank you for your question!


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